Posted By escampbell on 10/14/2010 6:32 PM
That being said, it does not have to be done at 6 months of age. Discuss this with the breeder. But blanket statements that dogs neutered young will have endless problems simply does not jive with my experience. My parents' Labrador was neutered at 6 months and lived a healthy, happy life until the age of 14 1/2. They kept him in good weight, made sure he got ample exercise and he had a fine life. My almost 11-year old Sheltie was neutered at 7-months of age and is an agility champion and fit as a fiddle. Admiittedly, Shelties are much smaller. My sister neutered her Golden at 13 months and he is very handsome, not at all leggy.
It's not a blanket statement to say that the risks of neutering young outweigh the benefits. It's a matter of probabilities.
Dogs neutered young have higher incident rates for several conditions. The biggest problem is what it does to the musculoskeletal development of the dog. The golden didn't get leggy because it was castrated at 13 months when all or nearly all of the growth plates are set and the majority of the muscle cells have been manufactured.
The dogs at highest risk of complications due to early neutering are hunting dogs or any other dog that does a lot of running since they put the most strain on their bones.
The real problem is that health wise there aren't many benefits to early castration or castration at all for that matter. The one risk is testicular cancer which has a pretty low incidence rate and can be treated simply by castrating the dog.
If someone is capable of responsibly handling an intact dog then I don't believe it should be cut. If there is any doubt though I agree that it should be castrated but preferably after 12-18 months of age.